The Films of Atom Egoyan Archives - Page 2 of 3 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
28Jun/110

Atom Egoyan: Ararat (2002)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

I could not get a copy of Felicia's Journey in time for today's Egoyan discussion so I am jumping one film ahead to 2002's Ararat.  Considering how horribly wrong I was about this movie on first viewing, I think it appropriate that I now have to get to it first.

"His pregnant sister was raped in front of his eyes before her stomach was slashed open to stab her unborn child.  His fathers eyes were gouged out of his head and stuffed into his mouth.  His mothers breasts were ripped out and she was left to bleed to death.  Who the fuck are you?"

I'm just another member of the audience.  I have to believe whatever truth is presented on the screen otherwise the whole effect of cinema comes tumbling down.  The truth presented above is but one version of how someone feels about the Armenian genocide.  It's spoken by an American actor, with no previous connection to any Armenian culture, who suddenly feels more passionately and directly than the historian with family losses who was hired to consult for the movie being made about the genocide.

The historian's version of the truth clashes with the actors'.  The actors' and historian's both clash with a co-star, who wants to believe that it didn't happen so he doesn't lose his pride as a Turk.  He's not wrong in wanting to lose that pride, and his truth is no less valid.  Those truths clash with the historian's son, who desperately needs to believe he's smuggling film back into Canada, his step-sister, whose father committed suicide after getting involved with the historian, or the aging security guard, who wants so desperately to believe his son may still be straight that he's willing to entertain the young smuggler in thinking what he has is really "film".  Then there's the old director, who wants to tell the story of the genocide in such a way that it blindsides everyone, including the historian.

21Jun/110

Atom Egoyan: The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

The camera slowly pans over a plank of wood.  We go along with it, uncertain of the destination or even where we are.  A soft green light follows along our vision as shadows dance over the stiff boards.  A flute chimes in slowly, joined by a lute and soft drums, leading us to a bed.  A man and a woman lie with their child, not a one ashamed of their nakedness, sleeping comfortably among the emerald and brown of their room.

We're intruding.  This is overwhelmingly obvious from the opening frames and reinforced throughout the entire film.  However they are feeling, we should not be here observing them in so naked a moment.  For a moment everything is perfect and our mere presence means that time must continue on and their peace must come to an end.

14Jun/110

Atom Egoyan: Exotica (1994)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Andrew COMMENTARY

"I'll kiss it and the pain will go away."

When was the first time that you heard that?  For me, it was from my parents.  It was after ants swarmed up my leg and decided to bite my leg in unison.  Why I was there was my own fault, I was curious what they might do and I was young.  But the pain remained.  It lingered until the last bumps faded away and my memories still remain.

7Jun/110

Atom Egoyan: Calendar (1993)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Andrew COMMENTARYToo much self-reflection can be a bad thing.  Egoyan's movies have, in some sense, used technology as an exploration of identity as well as that statement.  Everyone thinks about how they appear on the screen, how they sound, if their movements are in the right direction, and how they can reposition themselves to appeal better to others.  They're so reflected on the self that they forget to project something to others.

31May/110

Atom Egoyan: The Adjuster (1991)

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Andrew COMMENTARYThere's not a single character in The Adjuster that hasn't constituted their entire reality on the basis of how someone else looks at them.  There have been hints that Egoyan was going to make a film that pushes the deconstruction of identity this far, but to this point it was kept somewhat under control.  At least with Speaking Parts I was able to see the fragments of individuals and what they really want, The Adjuster just provides us with people with no initial entrance or exit point.